Monday, November 21, 2016

1946 Desoto

Photos by the author

Parked near the 1932 Desoto discussed in our last post at the Good Guys Rod & Custom Association “27th Autumn Get-together” was this 1946 DeSoto Custom Club Coupe.


With the pent-up demand for new cars, the 1946 DeSoto like many Detroit products that year were merely modified versions of the 1942 model. Unfortunately the 1946 Desoto omitted the most striking feature of 1942 Desoto - the "Airfoil" headlights a feature that originated with the six 1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt show cars.  

Square shaped doors hid the headlamps until a push-pull lever on the dashboard lever rotated the covers upward and turned on the lights. Fewer than 25,000 1942 DeSoto cars were shipped before automobile production ceased for World War II.
The 1946 DeSoto still used the low wide “rocket body” design with concealed running boards but no longer had the attractive hidden headlights and the “waterfall grille” was larger and incorporated the parking lights.

Mechanically, the 236-cubic inch, 109 horsepower L-head six-cylinder “Powermaster” engine featured aluminum alloy pistons “for flashier performance”  and a force fed oiling system with a rotary oil pump and “micronic filtration” that used a replaceable cartridge oil filter “developed for use on Army and Navy planes.” 
The 60-year old Gem Green paint is badly worn; the chrome surround on the rear window identifies this as a Custom model.
A three-speed transmission was standard, but the buyer could get the optional “Fluid Drive” as in this example. Chrysler introduced “Fluid Drive” in its cars were in 1939 with a standard 3-speed manual transmission and clutch, but had a fluid coupling in place of the conventional flywheel. This option became available on DeSoto and Dodge models in 1941 at a slight extra cost 

“Fluid drive” used a hydraulic coupling in place of the flywheel, and performed the same function as a modern torque converter, only without torque multiplication. “Fluid Drive” cars do not change gears “automatically,” there is a clutch pedal and the car can start from a stop in any gear without slipping the clutch.

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